Of love, responsibility in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone

December 2, 2020
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TOMI Adeyemi’s book Children of Blood and Bone has been received with so much praise and admiration. In fact, the overall success of the book has put the Nigerian-American author on the Times 100 most influential people in the world.

The story is centred around the connection between humans and spirits/gods. Zelie, the main character, is part of the Maji (people known to possess magical powers) and are now oppressed by King Saran, who believes that magic is a curse and must be eradicated from the land.

Zelie, at the age of six, watches as her mother is dragged and subsequently killed by the king’s guards and that hurt drives a deep-seated disdain for the king in her heart.

Zelie meets Amari in what one might call a divine coincidence and that moment becomes the point of change in the trajectory of Zelie’s life.

She becomes the beacon of hope for her people to restore the magic and essence of the Maji that king Saran had robbed them of.

It behoves Zelie to upturn the reign of tyranny and restore the kingdom of Orisha to what it once was.

Zelie becomes responsible for what happens to her family, clan and Orisha at large. She is, therefore, driven by love to carry out this responsibility even when she is faced with challenges.

Each character goes through a journey. They all fight their personal demons and come to terms with who they really are. There is no middle ground it would seem as the fight for justice blurs grey lines.

The story is perfectly told, especially as it alludes to popular Yoruba deities like Oya, Yemoja, Sango, and is set in many known places in Nigeria like Lagos and Ilorin.

However, the author has a great story but her throwing around places in Nigeria in the story showed no research on the geographical locations in Nigeria, except her desire was to create fictional geographical setting using real places.

In all, it is a good read. Fantasy is a genre of literature that African writers are now beginning to explore and this particular book by Tomi Adeyemi is a laudable effort to tell our own indigenous stories.

  • Onwah is a book blogger and literary enthusiast.

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